Help Hike 1,175 Miles in One Day

On September 9, 2017, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail need you to collaborate with hundreds of others across North Carolina to hike and paddle the entire 1,175 miles of the MST in one day. Registration is now open for all legs – follow the instructions on mstinaday.org to sign up. MST in a Day commemorates a speech on September 9, 1977 by Howard Lee, then the...

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Synchronous Firefly Viewing Dates

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the 2017 dates for firefly viewing in Elkmont. Shuttle service to the viewing area will be provided on Tuesday, May 30 through Tuesday, June 6. All visitors wishing to view the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont must have a parking pass distributed through the lottery system at www.recreation.gov. Every year in...

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Centuries-old Medicine Wheel draws many to national forest in Wyoming

For centuries, the Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming has been used for prayer and vision quests by the Crow Tribe and other Native people. Visitors come from all over the world to hike up Medicine Mountain to the wheel, a National Historical Site managed by the Bighorn National Forest with guidance from the Medicine Wheel Alliance. The Medicine...

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On the trail of John Muir: Hiking in the naturalist’s footsteps around Northern California

John Muir had a passion for the outdoors that’s legendary and his extensive writings include accounts of his California adventures, ascending Mount Shasta in a snowstorm, walking all the way from San Francisco to Yosemite, and simply sauntering around Mount Wanda with his two daughters near his Martinez Ranch. Muir first arrived in San Francisco from New York by...

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Why Hiking Matters

Nature Deficit Disorder noun 1. The human cost of alienation from nature. Okay, it’s not actually in the dictionary… yet. The term was coined by journalist Richard Louv in his modern classic study Last Child in the Woods to describe the negative effects of a steep, one-generation slide in children’s exposure to the natural world. Louv points to the obvious reasons:...

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Tips for Scoring a Hard-to-Get National Park Backcountry Permit

by Michael Lanza - The Big Outside The first time I backpacked in Yosemite National Park, more than 25 years ago, I applied months in advance for a permit to start at the park’s most popular trailhead, Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley—and I got it. I had no idea at the time how lucky I was. I’ve since been shot down trying to get permits for popular hikes in parks like...

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Groundbreaking for final phase of ‘missing link’ of Foothills Parkway

It’s the beginning of the end for the “missing link” of the Foothills Parkway. While crews still are completing the bridges along the 1.65-mile “missing link,” the paving of the entire 16-mile stretch of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley is scheduled to get underway this spring, with a groundbreaking ceremony featuring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander,...

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How to Prevent Injuries While Hiking

Hiking is great fun for all ages and sizes. Like any other person who has the zeal and passion for amazing views and high alpine trails, sometimes you forget that the activity is strenuous and has several potential dangers. If you have been hiking for some time, chances are you have had a taste of what it is to get one of more of the following injuries. An injury from...

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A new kind of green: Developers trade golf courses for hiking trails, gardens to draw buyers

A few decades ago, the go-to centerpiece for many master-planned communities was a golf course, with buyers clamoring for homes that backed up to the green whether they were avid players or not. Today, golf courses have faded from favor in new communities, giving way to more inclusive amenities, such as extensive trail networks, education centers and shared gardens that...

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Walking the Garden of Ireland: Wicklow Way

The Wicklow Way is Ireland’s oldest way-marked long-distance walk. The 128 km long walk takes you through the incredible Wicklow Mountains and through County Wicklow, known as the Garden of Ireland. Wicklow Way passes through Wicklow Mountains National Park and through Glenmalure, the longest glacial valley in Ireland. You’ll also walk past Glendalough, a 6th century...

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High Country Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway Chapter – Clean-up of Tanawha Trail, April 23, 2017

The High Country Chapter of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian State Chapter, will host a clean up of the Tanawha Trail, Sunday, April 23, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The Tanawha Trail, stretching 13.5 miles from Julian Price Park to Beacon Heights, parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Tanawha, the Cherokee word for...

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What Gear Do I Need For Hiking?

Hikers in general are an eclectic lot. If you asked 15 different hikers what kind of hiking gear you need for a comfortable day hike, chances are that you will get 15 different answers. Of course, some of these answers will have a few items in common. You know, things like don’t go hiking in your flip flops. So preferably, the first piece of gear you will need will be...

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Public Library Card in Colorado Offers Hiking Perks

When it comes to Colorado’s great outdoors, the Mesa County Public Libraries are here to help connect you to local scenic hiking trails at no cost. Bob Kretschman, Public Information Manager of the Mesa County Public Libraries said, “With a library card you can do a lot more than just check out books. This parks pass program lets you actually get out and...

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National Parks are Fee Free the Next Two Weekends

The National Park Service has long encouraged visitors to avoid peak crowds by planning their trips in the spring. And to give you even more impetus, here’s another good reason to visit this month: free admission. For four days in April, 2017 — April 15, 16, 22 and 23 — the National Park Service will waive entrance fees at the 118 national parks that normally charge...

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How to Be Mindful on a Hike

“Hiking in nature provides an opportunity to tune in — both to our own experience and to the world around us. While it can be easy to get lost in thought or daydreams while hiking, the simple practices of mindfulness can draw us more closely into our experience of the natural world.” — Khalila Archer, program director at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. Start by...

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Trekking the Danakil in Ethiopia

After a three-hour hike, you crest the ridge. Before you is the glowing caldera, filled with dancing fountains of lava. Ethiopia is increasingly making its mark on global tourism. Once just the province of dedicated Peace Corps workers and intrepid backpackers, newly built roads and new hotels are opening it up to the broader tourist market. But even for the most veteran...

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Helping You Find Uncrowded National Park Trails

The road less traveled—it’s an old adage, sure, but also advice worth taking when it comes to exploring U.S. national parks. After all, our beloved parks are crowded: Last year, they had a banner year, with 325 million visitors enjoying (sometimes free) time in the great outdoors. Particular park trails, though, are more crowded than others, and in 2016, 24 million...

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What to do if you encounter a mountain lion while hiking

“You never know what you can encounter [while hiking],” said Mike Keckler with Idaho Department of Fish & Game. “That’s one of the things that makes [wilderness] so special.” While we may want to stop and snap a couple of pictures, Keckler says we should be aware of potential dangers – especially when it comes to mountain lions....

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An Argument for Caution in the Wild

BY MARJORIE WOODRUFF HIGH COUNTRY NEWS Taking a hard look at the soft line between acceptable risks and ‘what-were-they-thinking’ risks. Six: That is the number of times I’ve frantically dashed out of a slot canyon because it started to rain. Once that happened when I was leading a well-advertised Sierra Club hike to promote wilderness with a capital W. We had hiked in...

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North Carolina regulators approve solar microgrid in Smokies

Duke Energy got the official go-ahead for a renewable energy project that’s drawing praise from some of its most frequent critics. The “microgrid” system, atop Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, represents Duke’s latest, small foray into linking solar energy to battery storage – a combination that experts say is key for the expansion of renewable...

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Blue Ridge Parkway Announces 2017 Season Opening Schedule

Chances are that you, like many, have already been enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway during this unseasonably warm winter. The park unit welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors in January and February of this year alone, that’s 400,000 more than the first two months of 2016! But the scenic route truly comes alive starting in spring, and the National Park Service has...

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Camelback drummer creates public show while hiking

While many in the Valley of the Sun have seen the Camelback Mountain Christmas tree, some may not know about the Camelback drummer. A TV helicopter caught the drummer’s performance during sunrise on a recent morning. Ken Koshio takes his music all the way to the top. He is a Taiko performer and an expert in the Japanese style of drumming. Koshio said he hikes to the top...

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The Risk of Lyme Disease on the Appalachian Trail Is Going to Be High This Year

Ticks carrying Lyme disease are rampant in the forests of the northeast, and the Appalachian Trail goes straight through the thick of them. This year (2017), a host of variables is coming together that could increase the likelihood of contracting the disease while hiking the trail, says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist and senior scientist at the Cary Institute of...

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Get Free Admission to U.S. National Parks Later this Month

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks. It’s all happening in your national parks. Travelers who want to enjoy the warmer weather in the outdoors...

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Hiking maps go mobile: Feds unveil digital backcountry guides for Alaska

Navigating Alaska’s backcountry has become a bit easier — or at least, more digital. The Bureau of Land Management Alaska has started unveiling free digital maps that users can download to their smartphones and open in a third-party mobile app. The app can use GPS technology to show the user’s location on the map, even if that person is without cellphone...

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Wildland Trekking Continues to Sponsor Meanderthals

For years, I shied away from advertising here at Meanderthals, choosing to place the focus on hiking and conservation rather than garish commercialism. I know that you would much rather look at scenic photos from the Smoky Mountains than flashing, blinking promotions that smack you upside the head and eventually simply get ignored. Over the years I have turned down...

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Gov. helps open hiking trails at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve

Exploring Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve’s mature forests and scenic overlooks by foot has finally gotten easier. Nearly a decade after its nearly 3,000 acres nestled between Accokeek and Potomac creeks in Stafford County, Virginia were dedicated as a preserve, eight miles of hiking trails have officially opened to the public. They can be used Thursdays through...

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John Muir Way recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails

The John Muir Way has officially been recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The 134-mile route which runs between Helensburgh and John Muir’s birthplace of Dunbar on the east coast, now joins other world famous paths which have been honoured with the prestigious award. The John Muir Way is the 28th Long Distance Route to be awarded to accolade by...

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Preparing for the National Trails System’s 50th Anniversary

In 2018, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our National Trails System and a nationwide celebration is underway! This celebration will kick off at the International Trails Sympsium on May 9, 2017, in Dayton, OH. This anniversary is a golden opportunity for all Americans to not just celebrate trails – all trails – but to learn about them, enjoy them, and...

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Exploring Canyonlands National Park in One Day

When visitors come to Moab, Utah, they’re usually there to see the famous arches of Arches National Park, the world-renowned mountain biking, or the amazing river rafting. Canyonlands National Park seems to be an afterthought to many people. “Oh, there’s another national park here? Cool, let’s drive out there for a couple of hours to check it out.” If you really want to...

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